Sep 13, 2017

Under scrutiny over Russia-linked ads, Facebook cracks down

Noah Berger / AP

Facebook is tightening controls over who can advertise on its platform, Reuters reports. Moving forward, content creators and publishers will have to comply with the standards used to evaluate crowdsourced content if they wish to sell ads

Why it matters: The crackdown is a sign that Facebook takes pressure from governments and companies seriously.

The changes come in response to its recent admission to authorities investigating Russia's influence on the 2016 election that they sold thousands of ads likely linked to Russia, many of which were connected to "inauthentic" accounts and Pages.

Lawmakers and interest groups responded to the revelations, as well as a report that Russian operatives used Facebook's events tool to organize and promote political protests in the U.S., by demanding that Facebook and other tech companies testify before Congress. Bloomberg reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe has a "red-hot" focus on social media.

Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg addressed other concerns Wednesday, like inaccurate media measurement and unsafe content on its platform. Speaking at a conference in Germany, where lawmakers have been especially aggressive about privacy standards, Sandberg said the company is working to roll out updates to address a range of concerns.

"We hear their concerns about safe environments, about standards, about measurement, and this is critical to us," she said. "We're working hard to roll things out that give you more control over where your ads run, and more knowledge about where your ads run, before, during and after campaign."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 838,061 — Total deaths: 41,261 — Total recoveries: 174,115.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 177,452 — Total deaths: 3,440 — Total recoveries: 6,038.
  3. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with other health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  4. Federal government latest: The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.
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U.S. coronavirus updates: White House studies models projecting virus peak

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.

The state of play: The coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S. in two weeks, but many states like Virginia and Maryland will see their individual peaks well after that, according to a model by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes two-minute antibody testing kit to detect coronavirus

Currently, it takes days to produce results from testing kits. Photo: Sergei Malgavko\TASS via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval Tuesday for a serological testing kit produced by Bodysphere Inc. that can detect a positive or negative result for COVID-19 in two minutes.

Why it matters: Access to testing has improved in the U.S. thanks to commercial labs, but the average wait time for a patient's results is four to five days — with some reports of it taking more than a week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health